Hateful Policy Haters, Lawsuits & More
By Jasmine Williams
Spotify Walks Back
Spotify’s new ‘Hateful Content and Conduct’ Policy has a whole lot of haters. Following outcry from a number of industry heavyweights and rumors of internal conflict, Spotify has backtracked on the rule which stated that Spotify could choose to remove or refrain from promoting artist whose music promotes hate or engages in behavior that is “especially harmful or hateful.” So far, the policy’s implementation only saw the removal of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from promotional playlists, although their content was still searchable.
Public critics of the policy, including Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment, accused the streaming giant of censorship, vagueness, and discrimination. R. Kelly has been accused of various forms of sexual abuse while XXXTentacion was charged with battering a pregnant woman, but neither have been convicted. In response to Spotify’s action, XXXTentacion’s manager tweeted a list of other artist who have been accused of deplorable conduct.
The controversy over the rule illustrates the music industry’s increasingly complicated relationship with the #MeToo movement. While XXXTentacion’s streaming numbers immediately decreased following Spotify’s policy, the opposite effect was had on R. Kelly who saw a rise in plays on the streaming service. Spotify has announced that they will restore XXXTentacion’s presence on promotional content but they have no plans to reinstate Kelly.
R. Kelly Gets Sued (Again)
In very related news, in New York on Monday, R.Kelly was sued by a woman for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and failure to disclose an STD. Faith A. Rodgers began a relationship after meeting the R&B hitmaker in March of 2017, when she was 19 and he was 51. In the following year, Rodgers alleges that Kelly abused her “mentally, sexually, and verbally,” and held her against her well in various places without access to food, water, or a bathroom. Her lawyer, Faith C. Hills, calls the lawsuit a standard example of R. Kelly’s alleged predatory behavior, stating, “For over 20 years, women across America have been victimized by R. Kelly, and have filed eerily similar claims.”
That New New
Pusha T dropped Daytona, his third studio album. Right before the release, he spoke with NPR’s Sidney Madden about Kanye West, rap beefs, and #MeToo. Pusha fans have waited three years for a LP from the Clipse member but it’s not just the tracks that have people talking. The album artwork has sparked a controversy. Kanye provided the creative direction for Daytona and made the last minute decision to spend $85,000 to license a photo of the late Whitney Houston’s bathroom for the cover (seen below). Houston’s family is now demanding a public apology.
Asap Rocky also released his third studio LP, Testing. Preceding the release, the rapper/style icon premiered an art performance in which he went through a series of physical challenges in front of an audience at Sotheby’s.
Maggie Rogers returned from a musical hiatus with her new Rostam-produced track, “Fallingwater.”
Viral sensation Clairo and Stones Throw signee Sudan Archives dropped respective EPs this week. Friday brought the debut album from Thunderpussy, who will celebrate by playing Sasquatch! Fest this weekend; a new Chvrches album, Love Is Dead; and two long-awaited returns: Katy Davidson released her first Dear Nora album in twelve years and George Clinton’s Parliament came out with Medical Fraud Dogg, the band’s first LP in almost forty years!
Two very long-awaited returns occurred yesterday. Katy Davidson released her first Dear Nora album in twelve years and George Clinton’s Parliament came out with Medical Fraud Dogg, the band’s first LP in almost forty years!
- MoMA PS1 has released the full lineup and dates for this summer’s Warm Up concert series.
- Alanis Morisette’s seminal album, Jagged Little Pill, is now a musical at Harvard.
- Kyle Frenette, Bon Iver’s long-time manager, has dropped out of the Congressional race for Wisconsin’s 7th district.
- You could win tickets to Courtney Barnett’s Prospect Park show!
- On Wednesday, Redbull Music hosted the U.S. premiere of Betty: They Say I’m Different, a new documentary featuring oft-forgotten funk music revolutionary, Betty Davis.
- Bjork returned to television for the first time in six years. She brought the weird (and the flutes!) to Later…With Jools Holland.